Hologram of Maiman's laser

Contributed by Jonathan Ross

Hologram of Maiman's laser

Theodore Maiman created the world's first laser in 1960. Since then, this revolutionary light source has been incorporated in a myriad devices including supermarket scanners and CD players and for medical applications such as eye surgery. Lasers are used in the computer industry, by builders for measuring distances, for cutting, welding and blasting. Also as laser light shows and for the creation of holograms - perhaps the most significant development in imaging since television. Holograms are best known for their use as a security device on credit cards and banknotes but as a means of recording 3-dimensional information about a subject they are unparallelled. The hologram illustrated, made by Canadian holographer, Gary Cullen, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the laser, is on a 2.5" x 4.75" sheet of holographic film, mounted as a window in a small box and illuminated with a built-in diode laser, powered by a small battery. When you push the button Maiman's laser appears to be inside the box, reflected by mirrors on three sides but, when you remove the lid, there is nothing there. The realisation of man's desire to capture 3-dimensions on a flat surface. Truly Modern Magic!

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